Born in Oxford, Daniel Harding began his career assisting Sir Simon Rattle at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with which he made his professional debut in 1994. He went on to assist Claudio Abbado at the Berlin Philharmonic and made his debut with the orchestra at the 1996 Berlin Festival.
He is Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Music Partner of the New Japan Philharmonic. He is Artistic Director of the Ohga Hall in Karuizawa, Japan and was recently honoured with the lifetime title of Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. His previous positions include Principal Conductor and Music Director of the MCO (2003-2011), Principal Conductor of the Trondheim Symphony in Norway (1997-2000), Principal Guest Conductor of Sweden's Norrköping Symphony (1997-2003) and Music Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (1997-2003).
He is a regular visitor to the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Vienna Philharmonic (both of which he has conducted at the Salzburg Festival), Royal Concertgebouworkest, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. Other guest conducting engagements have included the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Oslo Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Orchestras and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées. Among the American orchestras with whom he has performed are the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In 2005 he opened the season at La Scala, Milan, conducting a new production of ‘Idomeneo’. He returned in 2007 for ‘Salome’, in 2008 for a double bill of ‘Bluebeard’s Castle’ and ‘Il Prigioniero’, and most recently in 2011 for ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ and ‘Pagliacci’, for which he was awarded the prestigious Premio della Critica Musicale “Franco Abbiati”. His operatic experience also includes ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’, ‘Don Giovanni’ and ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic, ‘The Turn of the Screw’ and ‘Wozzeck’ at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and ‘Wozzeck’ at the Theater an der Wien. Closely associated with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, he has conducted new productions there of ‘Così fan tutte’ directed by Patrice Chereau, ‘Don Giovanni’ directed by Peter Brook, ‘The Turn of the Screw’ directed by Luc Bondy, ‘La Traviata’ directed by Peter Mussbach, ‘Eugene Onegin’ directed by Irina Brook and, most recently, ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ directed by Vincent Boussard. Other engagements have included ‘Die Zauberflöte’ in Vienna and ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’ at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich. This season he will return to La Scala to conduct ‘Falstaff’ and will make debuts conducting ‘Der Fliegende Holländer’ at both the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin and at the Wiener Staatsoper.
His recent recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Mahler's Symphony No. 10 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, have won widespread critical acclaim. Previously an exclusive Virgin/EMI recording artist, his recordings include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; Brahms’ Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen; ‘Billy Budd’ with the London Symphony Orchestra (winner of a Grammy Award for best opera recording); ‘Don Giovanni’ and ‘The Turn of the Screw’ (awarded the “Choc de l'Année 2002”, the “Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros” and a Gramophone award) both with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; works by Lutosławski with Solveig Kringelborn and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and works by Britten with Ian Bostridge and the Britten Sinfonia (awarded the "Choc de L'Annee 1998”).
In 2002 he was awarded the title Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government and in 2012 he was elected a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.